What is the Perception vs. Reality of Hiring Top Candidates in Today’s Market

When you can’t find a job, or as an employer, you review multiple candidates without finding one suitable for you to hire, it’s easy to believe there are sinister forces at work in the hiring market. However, as a veteran security recruiter it often falls upon me to convince candidates and employers that things are not always the way you perceive them.

I hear a lot of frustration from hiring authority’s and job seekers in today’s economy. Here are a few emails I have received recently:

  • “Just because I am over 50 with a little gray hair and have not worked for the past six months doesn’t mean that I have lost my ability to lead a team or function as a Risk Management professional.”
  • “Why don’t companies return calls after interviews when they tell you they will? Recently, I interviewed for a corporate security role and was told after the third interview I would hear from them within a week. Two weeks later after not having my calls returned I assumed they went a different direction and I accepted another job. Ten days later they called and said they had an offer to present me. It was too late – I had moved on. Frustrating!”
  • “David, I have just about given up looking and applying for jobs. Nobody is hiring! I never hear back from these firms when I do apply and they only seem to want PERFECT candidates. They want security managers who can, ‘Hit the ground running without any direction or support.’ They want security experts, yet I don’t hear back when I apply. Please keep me in mind for any opportunities you may know of that might be a fit for me.”
  • “David, my nephew just graduated with a degree in Information Systems. He’s a really smart guy and wants to get into IT Security. He’s having trouble getting any interviews though. Do you think you could help him find something?”
  • “Hi David, We really enjoy working with you and appreciate all the quality people you have helped us hire, however, we have decided to search for candidates on our own to fill the Director’s role. With all the recent layoffs and the current state of the economy we feel that we should be able to find some quality candidates. We will let you know if this changes.” Fifty eight days later I received a call from this client asking for my help in recruiting. They told me they had reached out to people via their own network and had also run ads online and in national trade publications for this position and had not been able to identify any well qualified candidates.

In today’s climate there are a number of misperceptions held by both employers and candidates.

  • Perception – Because of the high unemployment rate people are desperate for work and are easy to find.
  • Reality – According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the national unemployment rate in January 2012 for individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher is only 4.2%.
  • Perception – Because corporate HR departments are generating a large volume of resumes, the very best candidates must be applying.
  • Reality – Top candidates are not applying for many jobs for several reasons

While they may want to make a change in the current environment many feel it is better to stay put until the economy stabilizes a bit more.  Mostly, these highly sought after passive candidates just don’t have time to be applying for jobs. They are hard at work in their current jobs and truly need to be recruited to make a change.

  • Perception – People don’t think that companies are hiring.
  • Reality – Great companies are hiring and have many great opportunities. Strong candidates are starting to get multiple offers.
  • Perception – If a company offers a candidate a job, the candidate will accept.
  • Reality – There is a higher rate of turndown and companies need to be prepared to pursue secondary candidates.

Employers and job seekers who aren’t working thru a recruiter must be patient and remain focused on communicating. While it doesn’t seem like a lot to ask from each side everyone has to do more with fewer resources today. We hope this provides some perspective and you find this information useful as you navigate the hiring process.

Good luck!

David Lammert

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